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Mayor Cantrell, Officials Break Ground on $25M Criminal Evidence and Processing Facility

NEW ORLEANS, LA — Mayor LaToya Cantrell recently joined other officials to mark the groundbreaking for the $25-million Criminal Evidence and Processing Facility, next to New Orleans Police Department headquarters in Mid-City.

“This is an exciting project, and one we have been waiting for a mighty long time," Cantrell said. "We knew two months ago that while we were heading into the COVID-19 pandemic it would absolutely be a challenge. But at the same time, that challenge would not stop our administration from moving infrastructure projects forward. That means fixing our streets, and that means creating better buildings."

“This is a limited amount of money that we have for a limited amount of time. And when Mayor Cantrell came in, our whole goal was to get this money to make a difference to the public services of our city including our law enforcement community but to also spend it, and get it going, because it matters to our economy in major ways," said Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO for Infrastructure. "And there is no better example than a project that has a great service to our community."

“Every day we hear our Mayor speak about how public safety is a priority to her as well as to her administration," said Shaun Ferguson, Superintendent, New Orleans Police Department. "Today she is proving just that. Her actions are before her words, and we are very appreciative of that. Keeping this project moving is a No. 1 priority. Now that we have our own crime lab, we can position ourselves to be a true leader in modern-day policing."

“The addition of this state-of-the-art crime lab dramatically improves the performance of every single entity in the New Orleans criminal justice system," said Jason Williams, President, City Council; Chair, Criminal Justice Committee. "The lab will provide the space, tools, and technology to properly tests and store critical evidence in criminal cases. The proper and safe storage of evidence is integral to the administration of justice. It’s relied on to determine guilt, innocence, and foremost that the actual perpetrator of the crime is being prosecuted. This new facility bolsters our ability to adhere to national best practices, as well as constitutional mandates in the handling of our evidence which directly contributes to the public safety of all New Orleanians."

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This new five-story, 64,000-square-foot facility will be used by NOPD evidence and processing, Criminal Clerk of Courts, and Municipal Court. The facility will also include a Crime Lab and DNA Lab with full service and regional support capabilities.

About $22 million of the project was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, while $3 million came from Law Enforcement District Funds; the project is being overseen by the city's Capital Projects Administration. Under the Cantrell Administration, the city’s investment to date totals $173 million.

This work is part of several completed public safety projects, which include:

  • Criminal Court - interior renovations (two new court rooms), $12 million
  • Orleans Parish Prison (3rd Floor) - docks renovation, $5.6 million
  • Juvenile Justice Intervention Center - 28-bed addition, $17.4 million
  • New Orleans Fire Department - Engine 36, $8.6 million
  • NOPD - 2nd District Police Station, $8.3 million

Upcoming projects include:

  • District Attorney Office Interior Renovations - $4.1 million
  • Municipal & Traffic Court Renovations - $14 million (breaking ground in the fall)
  • New NOFD Administration Headquarters - $4.5 million (breaking ground this summer)
  • New NOPD 4th District (West Bank) Police Station - $9 million (breaking ground this summer)

Mayor Cantrell was also joined by Vincent Smith, Director, Capital Projects; Jerry D. Harris, Project Manager, Capital Projects; Allan McDonnel, President of the McDonnel Group (construction contractor); and Charlotte Throop, CDM Smith (architect contractor).

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The construction project is beginning next to a part of another infrastructure project: the $6.3-million Mid-City Group A project, which was designed by Infinity Engineering and is being constructed by Hard Rock Construction, LLC. The entire project was originally scheduled to be complete this fall; however, additional scope has been added which moves the completion to spring 2021.

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